Friday, 3 November 2017

The life of beige

In a former career life, I got to interview textile artists and jewellery designers for magazines. I had a personal wish list of people I wanted to meet, and right up there was the King of colour himself, Kaffe Fassett. During one of his highly entertaining lectures, he addressed a room full of ladies of a certain age with a deep sigh and the heartfelt plea of 'Why does everything have to be so beige?' taken out of context like this it does sound like a criticism of his audience, but was actually a commentary on his first impressions of English interiors; but you could take it either way.
Well, that was a good few years ago and ladies of a certain age nowadays have a rainbow of Lagen look linen layers and the liberating Gudrun Sjoden eclectic and vibrantly colourful fashion collections. We can knit ourselves a rainbow of shawls, cowls and cardi's in gorgeous artisan yarns. Not for us the path of fade to grey in soft creams and beige with touches of navy for smart. No, we will likely celebrate the arrival of a full head of grey or white by dyeing it lime green or purple.

What got me thinking about that throw away comment (which stuck with me ever since, as you can tell... with a promise to self never to settle for beige), was the rediscovery of these images of a huge basket of walnuts. They were gently drying in the corner of a studio where I was invited to teach. I loved the bountiful abundance, the subtle mix of warm neutrals and the cool grey greens of the hand made willow basket.
A gorgeous abundance of neutral beige colour palette.

So then I thought about how we use colour in beading, lots of us love a good neutral mix, the newish matt metallics are divinely every shade of beige, from almost ash white, to deep chocolate with all points champagne and gold between.
Then I remembered that I made this necklace not long after I took the pictures of the walnuts.

It started with the glittery Czech glass button, gifted to me by a friend which set the colour theme for all the beads I picked out. CzechMate two hole tile beads with a lustre coating, fierce gunmetal spike beads discovered in the haberdashery department,  inky matt black and several matt metallic seed bead colours; plus some chunky matt gold bugle beads for the necklace strap.

The main pendant is bead embroidered, with a peyote stitch bezel to hold the button in place. Lot's of fringing with the willow grey picked out in the fringes. The strap is a mix of ladder stitch and right angle weave. The necklace sides are linked to the pendant with old brass curtain rings.

Definitely mostly beige, but not, I hope, in a settle for beige kind of way.